Sunday, 9 December 2018

Nelson Chamisa and Biti Begs For GNU Why Now?

We can praise the revolutionary parties for their unity on the two most important national issues facing the Zimbabwean people: 

The political impasse and the economic melt down. Some people do complain that the retention by vote of President Mnangagwa was not a good thing, and that it a support of a corrupt and failed leadership was not a plus for the organization or for the Zimbabwean people. Unfortunately for the ones who dislike ED he has five years to make things right.

A very sad situation is being created by the opposition not only in Zimbabwe but world over. There is a developing agenda which encourages the losing parties to come back through national unity. It is a system where the losers are being rewarded for losing under the guise of national unity. It is a systematic way of usurping the wishes of the majority. Africa is being forced into a none democratic ways of forming a Government of National Unity. This where the losing party pushes an agenda of sabotaging the economy in a strong willed evil to force a GNU. After realising that they will not be able to win they make a ploy to cause an economic panic which will trigger unrest and force a unity of some sort.

All other things being equal, national unity is an important collective and strategic goal under virtually any circumstance. However, unity is only of paramount importance when it is in the service of a functional policy or system. The question of unity is therefore subject to the condition of political functionality: if unity helps to achieve an indispensable national goal, then it is of paramount importance; if it is an insurmountable obstacle to an overriding national imperative, then it cannot be considered of the first importance. Sometimes, history teaches, functional national unity can only be achieved following a period of deep, sometimes even severe, disunity in order to achieve the primacy of a reasonable political approach over an unreasonable one. Lincoln's famous dictum that a house divided against itself cannot stand,was made in plain view of one of the most violent internecine civil conflicts in recent human history, and eventually came to constitute a rallying cry for the majority of Americans against a minority hell-bent on unworkable and unacceptable policies and practices. When political dysfunctionality becomes overwhelming, sometimes unity cannot, and even should not, be achieved or maintained.
Nelson Chamisa and Biti Begs For GNU Why Now?
In the present Zimbabwean context, national disunity is mainly expressed through the split between the MDC and ZANU PF. This disunity is the product of a failed experiment in political cohabitation and divided government following two contradictory election results, the 2008 presidential rerun election won overwhelmingly by President Mugabe and a parliamentary elections that returned a solid majority for ZANU PF's MPs. As noted many times in the past, these results divided Our government between two parties which are pursuing not only incompatible but flatly contradictory agendas on both the national strategy for economic rejuvenation and the character of Zimbabwean society. It is completely impossible that they should be able to find a modus vivendi for sharing power, especially since the inclusion of MDC in the government led directly and inevitably to international isolation for the entire ZIMBABWEAN leadership.

Since the violent split in the ZANU PF house in the summer of 2017 it has become commonplace among the powers that be and their allies around the world, to refuse to choose sides between these two irreconcilable and contradictory agendas and to simply call for national unity at all costs. It is extremely appealing to do so as it is, among other things, a copout on the essential choice ZANU PF and their supporters face between the nationalist agenda that seeks a negotiated agreement with MDC to end the Impasse and the Hardline agenda that seeks confrontation until victory? (whatever that means).In the most senior corridors the national unity imperative allows people to avoid all the most difficult questions in favor of a position that is hard to argue with and is ostensibly above reproach. This is also the position, more or less, of several key Friendly states, including SADC and AU who have been pressuring the party on all sides to reestablish national unity at all costs. This policy is driven by their own political discomfort, based largely on their internal domestic politics, the profound economical pressure resulting from the economical hardships in Zimbabwe.

The problem, of course, is that national unity between the ZANU PF and MDC is as impossible now as it was in 2008-2013. It is still the case that the internal and national agendas of the two organizations are contradictory, and still the case that MDC behaviour is largely driven by its ambition to marginalize and replace ZANU PF and all nationalist parties as the dominant political formation and the international address for all things Zimbabwe. The push for talks by Biti and Chamisa is. Desperate measure of a power hungry outfit. MDC has nothing to offer to the nation but confusion and anarchy. Talks being initiated will yield completely nothing.

The talks will go nowhere because agreement between these two positions is a practical impossibility. Until MDC seriously amends its policies such that it can be seen as a legitimate interlocutor by the international community (and, for that matter, for the neighbouring states as a practical reality), and accepts the goal of achieving a national end of conflict the costs of national reunification and reconciliation outweigh the benefits.

In many if not most Zimbabweans this is a heretical opinion, but if thought about seriously, it is also readily understood. The practical consequences of such a reconciliation, in the absence of significant policy adjustments from MDC would certainly be disastrous, especially a return to the crippling period of economic meltdown. National disunity is exceptionally unfortunate, but surely the international isolation of all the leading national parties is worse than the isolation of some, and obviously it would be of no benefit to the Zimbabwean people if targeted sanctions is to be maintained.

Moreover, from a practical point of view, everything serious the Nation can accomplish to improve their lot both in terms of living conditions and with regard to diplomatic progress towards economic revival requires negotiations with the opposition. The painful reality is that MDC with the support of its masters is in a position to block almost anything ZANU PF try to do to develop their society or move significantly in the direction of development. A situation in which the Opposition refuse to discuss anything meaningful with the entire government will mean, in effect, paralysis not only at the diplomatic level, but also in terms of institution building, economic development and most, if not all, registers of national and civic life.

To achieve economic development, significant steps can be taken under the current circumstances, but without being patriotic most necessary economic, institutional and political development of society will remain impossible. What needs to be done now, and urgently, is to lay the groundwork for economic recovery diplomatically in terms of the political register, and on the ground in terms of institutional, infrastructural and economic development in so far as possible.

Nobody wants to hear or read such words, yet every serious person knows that this is, in fact, the reality that we must face and deal with if we are serious about advancing our national interests. Only those who indulge in extravagant fantasies about milk and honey state from theZambezi to Limpopo or an opposition party to replace ZANU PF can fail to understand these ineluctable facts. The bottom line is this: as long as MDC continues to cling to policies that are completely dysfunctional and can only damage rather than advance the national interest in practice, and as long as their inclusion in government sentences all the national leadership and the whole of the country to international isolation, then disunity is, in fact, preferable to reunification. Better that only some elements of a people or national patrimony go charging suicidally off a cliff than for the entirety to do so in the name of unity.
Which brings us back to the question of the Reason for a unity government. We don't have any illusions about the failings of Nelson Chamisa as a political leader, which are numerous and which are spelled out in some detail elsewhere. However, political parties, and for good reason, rarely dispense with sitting presidents, and naturally this proved to be another example. In addition, the practical alternative would have been a long, drawn out, possibly catastrophic, and perhaps even indecisive leadership battle that might have either split the movement irrevocably or resulted in an even less appealing and capable figure emerging as the new leader. One need only look at some of the individuals who showed party clout at the Conference to understand that for all his failings,ED is far from the least attractive person in a position of considerable influence in ZIMBABWE.

By all serious accounts,ED has begun the painful and complicated processes of both anticorruption and good governance on the one hand and serious institution building ED's leadership on its own did not only prove capable of doing this, but it has proved capable of facilitating it, and providing the political basis for sound, or at least much sounder, administration. Failing to recognize this aspect of ED's presidency is to miss the biggest of big picture items. Under his leadership, ED is no longer synonymous with the Mugabe times which is good for both the party and the government, and this has taken considerable political will to accomplish and to maintain. The practical and economic benefits of this policy are now on display in the Country.
And although the results are as dramatic as some people have maintained, they are obviously very significant and should be built upon and not squandered.

Zimbabwe needs unity in the service of functional, practical policies that have both immediate and long-term beneficial consequences.

but under the circumstances, on the biggest issues at stake, and compared to the practical alternatives, it is unity and unanimity that is both useful and well advised. In the real world, the choices are between actually existing alternatives. In this case, the unity demonstrated by the nation on ED's leadership and on the national strategy was far preferable to any realistic alternatives.

The value of unity depends on the purposes it serves. All other things being equal, it is an exceptionally important value to be pursued, but in some cases, a measure of disunity that allows partial functionality is better than a form of unity?

There are times when the imperative of national unity must give way to insistence on reasonable policies without which the most essential elements of the national interest cannot be advanced or maintained. Zimbabwean national unity must indeed be restored, and as soon as possible, but not at all costs; it must be accomplished in a manner that allows the national agenda of economic recovery to proceed and not atrophy or collapse.

The reason for pushing for unity now is dubious. One time you say we will block any progress then you say lets unite. Is it a genuine unity seeking outfit.

Who said MDC will turn the economy round. We are at the verge of seeing the austerity measures work. Why move back fifty steps when we are so near the finishing line. Economic measures being taken now are very hard but gives hope.

We are not desperate as to buy the fake stories of GNU from the opposition. If a person risks all to join you, you must realise that you are the one with the keys to freedom. We can unite with those who are keen to see us down at our own peril.

The talks of national unity are premature. We must resist them. Not now and not on their terms.

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